Who Is Rich?

Victor Davis Hanson wants to know:

Is annual income a good gauge of wealth? Who is richer the architect in Monterey, Calif., who makes $250,000 a year and who paid $700,000 for a modest house while picking up the full tab of $50,000 a year for his daughter at a private liberal-arts college, or the engineer in Salt Lake City, Utah, making $100,000 a year who has a house twice as large at half the cost, and whose son is on a need-based scholarship at the university? Should annual income alone trump all other considerations when the costs of living vary widely by region, and eligibility for billions of dollars in federal and state subsidies is predicated on income levels?

What seems obvious enough is that the architect in Monterey is much richer, and chooses to spend a large portion of his wealth on the luxury good of living on the picturesque Pacific Coast near Pebble Beach golf course and a sea otter habitat, as opposed to what housing prices suggest is the less desirable shore of a large salt lake.